In a move that could help keep higher-education campus networks safe, Microsoft Corp. released a beta test of a free computer security program on June 23 and is on track to launch a finished product in the fall.

The program, Microsoft Security Essentials, is designed to find and eliminate malicious software that can steal passwords and other personal information or turn PCs into spam distribution hubs. The beta test was launched in the U.S., Israel, and Brazil in English and Brazilian Portuguese.

"There are many [high-]quality security products to choose from, both free and subscription-based--however, cost and performance barriers prevent many consumers


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